Hello, AEA Community! We are Dr. Dominica McBride and Jen LoPiccolo, MSW from BECOME, a social change agency in Chicago with a mission to nourish communities affected by poverty and injustice to make their vision of a thriving community a reality. Our organizational toolbox includes Culturally Responsive Evaluation and practice, community engagement, strategic planning, facilitation, and building our partners’ evaluative capacity to progress society toward our collective goals of Actualization, Abundance, and Liberation. Today we are writing to share what we are learning through our COVID-19 response initiative, Maximizing Impact, which uses Culturally Responsive Evaluation to catalyze the work of frontline workers and help serve more people impacted by the virus.
We are working with the three communities in Chicago that were deemed the most impacted communities, as they saw the most severe cases and suffered the most losses. As food drives were taking off this summer, we joined teams in the community to build their evaluation capacity and begin strategizing to help consistently improve direct service efforts. We are working hand in hand with those delivering services through the following goals:
1) Maximizing impact on the frontlines: We are hearing from community members about the help they are receiving and any other needs they have that are going unmet, as well as connecting them with further resources. We are also facilitating connections between community members to increase mutual support.
2) Increasing the number of people served through strategic outreach: We are asking those who have been served if they know of anyone else in the community who has a need related to the crisis and ask them to connect us with them. We are then reaching out to those folks to see what needs they have and how the lead organizations or other community resources can assist.
3) Shaping leaders’ decisions: We are listening attentively to the people affected by the crisis, those receiving services as well as those who haven’t, and will bring their voices into the conversation about how they are served and how they can serve each other.
Hot Tip: Build strong relationships with frontline organizations that may not have research and evaluation capacity in affected communities.
Hot Tip: Develop a comprehensive and conversational interview tool that will address community member’s needs holistically, assess resources effectiveness, and address gaps in direct services.
Cool Trick: Develop and share a resource guide to be able to provide folx you are interviewing with help in real time.
We hope you connect with those most impacted by the pandemic in your city and use your evaluation skills to make transformative change.
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